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Is A Direct Container Pottery Order The Right Decision For My Business?

At The Pottery Patch, we often facilitate the import process of direct container orders from our partner factories around the world. Ordering garden pottery directly from the factory can save your business money by removing some of the middle steps in import logistics. Below we’ve put together some information and answers to common questions to help you decide if a direct container order is the right decision for your business. 

What Businesses Commonly Order Pottery In Direct Containers?

The most common customers for direct container pottery orders are large garden centers or nurseries that sell directly to customers. Direct container orders are the most cost effective for businesses that sell a large volume of pottery. Once you understand the costs and savings involved, which are dependent on quantity, you can calculate if direct containers are worthwhile for your business. 

Custom Design for Direct Container Pottery Orders

When ordering a direct container, depending on quantity, you are sometimes able to have input on the design of the pottery. In most cases you can choose custom colors, for example for blended glazed pots, you can choose your own color combinations. Design changes such as shape or carved designs can be discussed with the factory for large quantities on a case-by-case basis.  

Minimum Order Quantity for Direct Container Pottery Orders

Direct container order minimums are dependent primarily on the size of your container. A 20-foot container holds about 10 pallets and a 40-foot container about 20-22 pallets. The number of pallets a container holds can change depending on the size of the products on the pallets. For production, factories generally require 1 pallet per product and color. Sometimes 2 colors are allowed per pallet. The number of products that fill a pallet depends on the size of the product. For example, some larger pots can fit 3 sets per pallet while smaller pots could fit 16 or more per pallet. We will work with you and the factory during the ordering and production process to use pallet and container space in the most efficient way possible. 

Direct Container Costs And Payment 

Direct Container Shipping Costs

Shipping costs depend on a number of factors, such as which factory you order from and which port the container will arrive in. The average shipping costs are about $8000. We will discuss all costs and calculate an estimate with you before you place an order. 

Taxes and Fees

Duty taxes are currently (in 2021) about 6 percent. Most of the products currently shipping from China have additional tariffs of 7.5% of the total invoice value. When buying products that have already been imported, these costs are generally built into the wholesale price of the product, so they are not added costs specific to direct container orders. 


Upon placing a direct container order, 30% of the product invoice is due. The remaining balance is paid when the container ships, usually a couple of weeks before it is due to arrive in the port. These payments must be made on time and in full so the cargo can be released from the port. Delaying payment can cause overage charges and extra port fees.  

Direct Container Ordering Process

Preparing a Direct Container Order

Once you have decided to place a direct container pottery order, our team will send you an excel sheet to fill out your order. The sheet will include all the information you need including pictures, pricing, and quantities per pallet and per container. Once your order is submitted, the factory will require a deposit to begin production. 

During the ordering and production process, we will work closely with you to improve the cost-effectiveness of your order. This usually involves some back and forth, discussing the order, and making additions or changes to products and quantities to maximize the use of space in your container. 

Shipping Process

When the container leaves the factory, you will receive a finalized invoice for the products. After the container has been shipped from the port, the remaining balance (minus the 30% deposit) is due. Once it has arrived in a U.S. port, we receive an Ocean Freight Bill, duty fees, and tariff charges. We then calculate the costs to deliver the container from the port to your business. This invoice is generally made separately from the product invoice because it depends on the final tariff and ocean freight costs. 

Shipping Location and Timing

The location the order is shipped from will depend on which factory you order from.  For factories in China, the shipping ports could be Shanghai, Xiamen, or Yantian. From Vietnam, orders are shipped from Ho Chi Minh City or DaNang. 

Shipping takes about 6-8 weeks from the factory to your warehouse, depending on where the order is going and coming from, and any delays in shipping or in the port. This excludes production time at the factory.  

Delivery and Unloading Process

Your delivery will be scheduled after the container reaches the port and is released. Once it arrives at your business, the unloading process usually takes less than 2 hours. You will need a loading dock and pallet jack or a forklift to facilitate the unloading process. 

Direct Container Questions

If you have any more questions about director container orders, you can visit our direct container sales page, contact us at 561-697-9377 or, or let us know in the comments below. We will be happy to discuss your options and walk you through the process!

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